Tooth Colored Fillings

You’d be surprised with how often people need fillings. In fact, the average American has seven teeth with fillings. Most people just aren’t as thorough when it comes to taking care of their teeth as they really should be.

Once upon a time, getting your cavities filled meant being left with a mouth full of metal, and a smile that shined—not in a desirable way. Old-fashioned metal fillings got the job done, but they also stood out like a sore thumb among the rest of your pearly whites. Tooth-colored fillings are the perfect alternative, restoring the damage caused by tooth decay while preserving the look of your natural teeth.

What Are Tooth Colored Fillings?

Dental fillings are used in order to restore teeth that have been damaged too much by decay and bring them back to their normal status. Whenever they’re applied by dentists, the decayed tooth material must first be removed, and then the affected location is going to be cleaned up. Afterward, the cavity is filled up with the filling material. Closing off the affected area prevents further decay by not giving bacteria the necessary opening to invade and fester.

How Do I Know If I Need a Filling?

The only one that can really tell if you need a filling is your dentist. Whenever you visit Alaska Dental Associates for a routine cleaning, the surfaces of your teeth will be examined with the use of a small mirror. If anything ends up looking abnormal, then special instruments are going to be used to check the affected area closely.

An X-ray may also be used to check your whole mouth or only a part of it. The treatment that will be used is determined by the dentist, based on the degree of damage that has been caused to your teeth, but you’ll always be in safe hands with us.

While routine checkups will identify the need for fillings, it’s also important to schedule an appointment with Alaska Dental Associates if you are experiencing any tooth pain. Pain or sensitivity in the teeth may be a sign of cavities, which should be taken care of sooner rather than later.

Are Fillings That Match My Teeth Better?

Most people are familiar with fillings as a metallic material that just fills up the teeth and ends up ruining the look of their smile. Yet if you went to the dentist and got the option between normal metal fillings, and special fillings that will end up matching the color of your teeth in such a way that nobody will be able to tell the difference, which one would you pick?

Tooth-colored fillings were originally introduced in the 60s, and since then have undergone many improvements in their aesthetics, materials, and durability. Currently, the most used and most versatile filling is the composite resin filling.

Other Advantages of Tooth-Colored Fillings

There are various advantages that you might find make tooth colored fillings a more attractive option than other kinds of fillings beyond just the fact that they match the natural color and the general appearance that your teeth have.

They actually bond to the tooth structure at a chemical level, meaning that there is no need for pins, slots, or grooves in the healthy part of the teeth in order to retain them mechanically. Another advantage of this strong chemical bonding is that around 85-95% of the original strength is restored in the tooth, so you’ll barely feel them whenever you’re chewing. Their almost immediate hardening is also to be noted, in comparison to the days that other materials end up requiring. Lastly, tooth colored fillings can be quickly repaired if they are ever damaged.

These special fillings are chemically bonded to the decayed part of your teeth. Thanks to this fact, the use of anesthesia in the affected area is not always necessary during the placement of the fillings. Even then, numbing might be required in the area if the tooth decay has gone into the dentin layer that is found surrounding the nerve of the tooth, going past the enamel layer.

What To Expect From White Fillings

As previously described, the general procedure first requires removing the decay. Afterward, the tooth is cleaned, and a primer is then applied to the area that will be restored. This primer ends up opening the pores that are found in the enamel and dentin, and afterward, a bonding agent flows into the open pores and is cured. Curing the bonding agent prepares it to adhere to the filling material that is going to be later applied, placing the material inside the tooth.

At this moment is when one of the most important differences between tooth-colored and amalgam fillings pop up. With most amalgam fillings there need to be some “undercuts” that shape the tooth and assure that the material is held in place. This involves more cracking on the structure of your healthy teeth. White fillings don’t require this. Thanks to their chemical bond, it means that the treatment is much more direct and may lead to better restorations.

Once in place, the tooth colored filling material is shaped in order to make it resemble the natural anatomy of your tooth. It is then hardened by using a strong curing light. After the filling completes hardening, your bite will be checked in order to assure that your teeth fit properly together. In the cases that the filling ends up going over the tooth too much, adjustments will be made by polishing and smoothing the new filling, ensuring a proper bite and that you can floss correctly.

Considerations for Resin Fillings

Although we’ve gone over many of the good things that white fillings have, there are certain things you should be aware of if you decide to choose them. First off is the fact that they can be stained just like your original teeth. Prolonged or frequent exposure to foods that have rich dyes (such as curries) or dark liquids (in particular coffee, tea, and red wine) can lead to staining.

Tooth-colored fillings are more expensive than the dental amalgam type, and some dental insurances might not see them as a necessity. Therefore, your insurer may impose a surcharge for using white fillings instead of the antiquated dental amalgam.

Restore Your Teeth and Preserve Your Smile with Tooth Colored Fillings in Anchorage

Alaska Dental Associates takes pride in your smile. If tooth decay has harmed your teeth to the point of requiring fillings, let our trusted dentist in Anchorage help you decide if tooth-colored fillings are right for you. Give us a call at (907)562-2284 or use our simple online contact form to schedule your appointment today.

Now then, if you have made the decision that you want white fillings, you need to figure out where. You’ll find no better place than Alaska Dental Associates for your dental needs, so be sure to contact us and set up an appointment as soon as you can.

Check out our other family dentistry services here.

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